ATLANTA- When the Utes say “family on three,” they mean it. The aunt of the late Ty Jordan (Takka) and his stepmother (Tiffany) traveled to Atlanta to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Atlanta Falcons in their final preseason game. The meaning of this? Jaguar first round draft pick Devin Lloyd along with free agent Nick Ford were Jordan’s teammates in Utah and some of its greatest champions in the historic 2021 season in Utes.
Watching the @DevinLloyd_ and @NickFord55 play Atlanta Falcons 💪🏾💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/fVLZMpz40G
— Takka Jordan (@Takka_Jordan) August 27, 2022
Ty Jordan’s story is forever rooted in Utah’s football history. The freshman running back made an instant splash for the Utes in the shortened five-game Covid-19 season of 2020. See the article : Falcons cheerleaders hold auditions, registration ends June 11. Jordan ran 597 yards and six touchdowns in his no-public debut — a signal of better days ahead for many people in Salt Lake City who felt hopeless amid the pandemic lockdown.
Tragically, Jordan became even more mythical than he appeared on TV after he lost his life to an accidental gunshot wound just a week after Utah’s final game of the season on Christmas Day. Jordan’s shocking loss seriously shocked Ute Nation from staff, players to fans. Jordan felt like a light at the end of a dark tunnel, but was extinguished as quickly as it caught fire.
The reaction and impact of Jordan’s death in Salt Lake City stalled a move. Fans created the 597 Challenge in Jordan’s honor, and the Athletic Department went on to create the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship along with the “Moment of Loudness.”
Jordan’s death encouraged players like Devin Lloyd and Nick Ford to stay another year in an effort to earn Utah’s first Pac-12 title in his memory, despite already having “settable” numbers.
The first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship was Jordan’s best friend on the team since high school, defending defenseman Aaron Lowe. Read also : The NFL’s animated uniforms have been scrutinized since the 1970s, but critics may be missing the point. Lowe changed his number from 2 to 22 (the number Jordan wore) to honor his friend in the 2021 season.
Hauntingly, just a month into the 2021 season, nearly nine months to the day of Jordan’s death, Lowe was shot at a house party. The result was Ground Hog Day-esque desperation throughout Utah and the college football world. Questions immediately arose as to whether or not the Utes would finish the 2021 season after a slow start and then another death so closely linked to the first in the middle of their season.
Utah persevered largely thanks to Lowe’s mother’s words, but also because of players like Lloyd and Ford who felt they had made a commitment to “get the job done” not only for Jordan, but for Lowe as well.
It was impressive that the Utes endured their immense pain by bringing the Pac-12 Championship Trophy to Salt Lake City for the first time and earning a trip to the Rose Bowl, where they just came up short in an epic game against Ohio State.
Perhaps the most touching aspect of this story is the strong bond that has developed between the Utah football team, the fans, and the Jordan and Lowe families. It’s a band that certainly looks set to continue into the 2022 season and into the foreseeable future. “Family on three…”